Archive for the ‘Nursing School’ Category


My Super-Gross Surgery

December 19, 2008

This is a post that I was planning on posting a month ago, but got too caught up in school crap. Nothing like break to catch up on the important things…


 A month or so ago, we watched a movie in class of a real-life hip replacement. The camera was all up in the ‘grossness’ and honestly, it was a little nauseating to watch. The worst part was when the surgeon snapped the ball right off the joint and you heard a loud ‘crack’ sound. And then, to add insult to injury (literally), the surgeon then shoved a long rod down into the femur, causing waves of bone marrow and blood to gush out. 


It was awful and gruesome and made my stomach turn.


Real life movies are soo gross


This semester my clinical group took turns spending two nights in the OR. (and we don’t sit in the galley like on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, we jump right in and view the surgery from two feet away). Originally I had been a little skeptical about how I would handle it, but after seeing that movie, I was terrified. But as any nursing student has learned to do, I sucked it up and decided I had to deal with it. I mean, come on… I’ve already had to dissect a cat, then REUSE that cat again the FOLLOWING semester (Mmmm, fresh…) and spend weeks cleaning up elderly people in a nursing home (strangely, this compares to dissecting a cat, except maybe the cat was more fun?). Anyway, I figured that I could suck it up and make it through a few nights in the OR. And so I did…


Weds night the OR was dead. I scrubbed in on the ONLY surgery of the night, a laparoscopic hernia repair.


I was told to sit on a stool and leave the OR if I got ‘woozy’. The stool was uneven on the bottom, so every time I shifted my weight or moved the slightest bit it would tilt to the other side…yay instability… exactly what someone who is feeling ‘woozy’ doesn’t need. And the room was excruciatingly hot. I know I always think it’s hot, but this time it really was. (Donning a mask for 90 mins didn’t help with the heat either). The surgeons and nurses were complaining about how hot it the entire time. So it wasn’t just me.



Laparoscopic Hernia Repair

Laparoscopic Hernia Repair


Anyway, the surgery, although hot and on and unstable stool, was a pleasure to watch. It was ‘clean’ and precise and looked absolutely nothing like the hip replacement movie. The incisions were really small, the abdomen blown up with CO2, and I really don’t think I saw so much as a drop of blood. The whole surgery was visible on what appeared to be Hi-def TV.


They put tubes inside the abdomen, where the Laparoscopic instruments go in. I thought they looked like the thermometer on a Turkey

They put tubes inside the abdomen, where the Laparoscopic instruments go in. I thought they looked like the thermometer on a Turkey


  It was really cool to watch and I had a great time.


The only thing was, I wanted to see more and there were no other cases all night. The nurse told me that Thurs nights were usually busier, and that I would see more tomorrow. I made a hugely embarrassing mistake by asking her if there were any “Kidney Transplants” SCHEDULED for tomorrow, and received a dumbfounded look as she explained that kidney transplants weren’t really scheduled. I was mortified as my own stupidity, shrugged it off and followed my patient to the PACU, hoping to see more action tomorrow.


Thurs morning: I wake up with pink eye. No joke.

 I have no idea where I got it from. I’m really hoping it wasn’t from the surgical nurse’s bathroom, as I would HOPE they washed their hands a lot. But alas, I missed my second night of surgery. I called my professor and begged her to let me go again next week. I desperately wanted to see a kidney transplant or an operation on an infant or something cooler than a hernia repair. She agreed to letting me go the following Thursday. Sweet!


The NEXT Thurs night: I was so ready!


 I was so excited to go back to the OR. I showed up to the OR for assignment after I did a quick 5 minute report on my patient from the previous night. They told me there wasn’t really much going on, and that it had been busier LAST night (of course, my luck), but that she DOES have a HIP REPLACEMENT I can scrub in on.


Here I am thinking, “Are you fuckin kidding me right now? This was the ONE surgery that I was trying to avoid! And seriously, how many fuckin procedures do you think they must do in a hospital any given day?”

So here I am, with odds roughly similiar to being struck by lightening, with all but one second to make a decision…

Read On….

So I follow the nurse to the OR room where the surgery is taking place (what else could i really do? I wasn’t about to say “no”). It’s busy and filled with surgeons, nurses, and several others. They ask me to wait in the Sub-Sterile room until they are done setting up. No problems there, being I had absolutely no desire to be in the actual OR at all for this. Watching from the window was fine for me!



See the guy with the Mallet/Hammer? How's THAT gonna feel in the morning?


The surgeon comes into the sub-sterile room to scrub in and he’s really nice. Then another guy, I was presuming a surgeon, came in and introduced himself. He was being nice to me (a lil too nice?), and I quickly realized he wasn’t a surgeon; so I assumed maybe a circulating nurse. Awesome, Someone who could fill me in on what’s going on, without speaking down to me. So I ask him what he does, and he says that he’s a salesman. I laugh, instinctively. You know, haha, you’re obviously not a salesman in the OR. He doesn’t laugh with me. Instead, he goes on for about 15 mins about how he sells, no joke, surgical implants, and how much money he makes.
 I feel hoodwinked. I’m looking for medical education from someone on my level and instead I’m being hit on by a weirdo salesman in the OR who sells surgical parts. Fuckin great.



"Would you like to buy my ball and socket? Come on... i'll let you touch it..."



 So finally weirdo salesman, who at this point is arguing with the ‘also cocky anesthesiologist’ about who makes more (come on, the anesthesiologist starts at like $200k… do you really believe you make MORE than him?!?) leaves the room. Ok. Whew. Surgery is about to begin. I’m actually a lil relieved.


By now I realize that, other than the OR and circulating nurse, I am in an OR surrounded by some of the cockiest men in NJ. All young, cocky pricks. Except for the middle-aged surgeon… he was really cool.


The surgery was nothing like the laparoscopic hernia repair. From the first incision, this surgery was bloody. I watched for maybe an hour from the sub-sterile room window, which was about 4-6 feet away from the table. I didn’t want to be closer. I heard the bones snap when they dislocated the hip, but I was lucky enough to NOT hear the hip ball being broken off. I saw the blood spilling down the table, and pieces of flesh flying out of the open wound. It was like watching a pack on lions tear apart a gazelle.



It was like watching a pack on lions tear apart a gazelle.


 I know you’re probably thinking I am overexagerating this some… but I assure you, I cannot even come near to explaining the horrors of this surgery. There was so much blood coming out of this person’s body that it was actually dripping down the sterile clothes on the table right to the floor. In puddles. PUDDLES. The surgeon looked like on of those scary halloween costumes of the evil surgeon, covered in what i pressume is usually ketchup or some sort of food coloring. Except this was real. The blood was slowly spreading down his scrubs and onto his bootie covered shoes.


Everything sterile blue was slowly turning deep red.

Now, don’ take this the wrong way… I’m not writing this blog to scare you. I’m just writing this to tell the story of my experience. The surgery was not a “round-of-the-mill” hip replacement. It was complicated because of other fractures and what-not. The “normal” hip surgery lasts an hour or so. This one started at 5:30pm and I left at 10:30pm, when they were just starting to close up. They went through 5 units of blood– a hugely abnormal amount…



I don't even know what this IS, but it looks similiar to the hip opened up-- except it's missing all the fresh blood and flying flesh pieces...


But, If you were to ask me if I would ever get a hip replacement… I mean EVER…. I’ have to say “Hell NO!”


 I got some of my pictures for this blog from “The Image of Surgery” website. It’s artistic views of surgery, and really neat to look at. I highly recommend you check it out.




Busy Bee

November 12, 2008


Just thought I’d post an update for everyone on what the hell I’ve been doing.

Nursing School is going fabulous, though it is definately kicking my butt some. My grades are all B’s, which is fabulous, except for one D on a TAPS exam. It was on part of the first exam, and I’ve spending all semester now trying to pull my grade back up. But what can you do?

My lil sister got married in September. She looked so beautiful and it was a wonderful ceremony, held outside when it was still 70 degrees. Congrats Candice!

My birthday came and went. I am another year older, perhaps wiser too…IDK. As you already know, my B.F. got me a wonderful lil laptop that I adore. It goes everywhere with me. It’s perfect for carrying to school and to type up notes on at home, when i just wanna snuggle in my bed. Also works well at B.F.’s house. Did I mention that I LOVE it?!

I moved back to my parent’s house. I was ashamed that I could not manage to live on my own anymore, but now that i’ve been there for a few weeks, i’m starting to feel better about it. Between work and school, i’m really only there in passing. On most days, I leave around 6:30am, and come back somewhere between 9:30pm and midnight, so I’m not there long enough for them to annoy me (and vice versa, I hope!). It’s only a temporary move to save money and help get me though Nursing School. I’m hoping to buy a house soon after I graduate.

I hit a deer. Yea, a big one. F*&$d up my car really bad. I plan on writing a post dedicated to that topic in the near future tho, so no more details now…

As far as school is going, i officially have less than 5 weeks left (YAY!) in Nursing 2. I have completed 2 exams, 4 quizzes, 2 careplans, 2 teaching plans, an OR Report (i got to scrub in on a laparoscopic hernia repair), and a communication paper. I’ve sat through about 20 lectures, had skills testing, and math testing, and plenty of things that I’m just forgetting. I’ve screwed up in clincal a lot. I’ve loaded IV Piggybacks wrong, distributed meds in the wrong cups, forgotten to get report, forgotten to check med scripts, gotten lost in the hosptial, and had plenty of “difficult” patients.

There have been good times too. I’ve helped numerous patients, correctly done IV Piggybacks (you NEVER make a mistake in clinical twice), hung TPN, given sub-q’s, juggled up to 3 patients, done report correctly each week, got to sit in on an amazing surgery, and had an awesome time doing all of it.

I have 3 exams left (one this Monday, one in Dec, and a cumulative final), one care plan, one wound paper, and 2 quizzes. I only have 3 weeks of hand-on time left at the hospital.

SO, if you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to this semester, that pretty much encompasses it. I haven’t really seen my friends (i’m sure some of them don’t know that i’m still alive), i haven’t gone out at all (i officially have NO drinking tolerance left), and i spend very little time with my B.F. (this makes me sad). To break it down easily, i spend 40% of my time at work, 45% of my time at or studying for school, 5% of time with my B.F. and the other 10% of my time sleeping.


Not-so-patiently waiting

October 13, 2008

My boyfriend bought me a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 for my birthday!!

My new "baby dell"

My new baby dell

My birthday was weeks ago, but unfortunately they keep emailing him and pushing back the date of arrival! Somewhere around the 1st and 2nd week post-birthday, I was harassing him about what it was I was getting (this was a DAILY conversation we had), and amidst the anger of having the gift delayed yet again, he accidentally slipped and told me he was having issues with Dell’s horrible customer service.

He was SO upset he slipped… and I was SO happy knowing that I was going to the recipient of a brand new “baby dell”. This was perhaps the best birthday present I have ever received (and I’ve received quite a few in my 28 years…)

So now I’m playing the waiting game. At first it wasn’t so bad, but now it’s becoming torture. I have pictures of my “baby” online to drool over, and just today I bought her a case to keep her warm and safe.

So Shiny!

I’ll let you know when she gets here!


First Day of School Blues

September 4, 2008

I survived the first day of school, with some minor set-backs (because that’s just my super lucky personality). 




I’ve known for almost a month now that I am completely fucked in financial aid department. In an effort to do away with credit cards, I consolidated and fucked my credit. And i mean fucked; from every possible position. I basically threw the entire book of Kama Sutra at it and told it to go to town. And it did. So, needless to say, I am no longer a “desirable candidate” for a student loan. Like I said, I knew this going into Nursing 2, but it still adds stress.




Did i mention that I have to hike up a big hill to get to class in any of my posts?

Well, what I did NOT mention is that yesterday was 95 degrees!! In fuckin September (read it above, along with the my “way over lease milage”!). What a lovely, humid day to trek up a crappy hill after 8 hrs of work. And if THAT didn’t make me feel gross enough…


Pepto in my purse

Pepto in my purse

 I had a stomach bug all day. I took pepto, but it didn’t help at all. I had horrible stomach cramps. So I had to sporadically run out of class, only to have to wait in line in a crowded bathroom. Except, i definately could not go if people were there. So i sat and waited, and waited…. i knew that whatever occured would be similiar to that scene in Dumb & Dumber*, so I definately did not want someone in there or walking in on me. So, needless to say, I missed like half of my lecture and precept because of the waiting. Ugghhh.





Now, for the good stuff. Nursing 2 does not seem uber difficult. Infact, aside from the one extra day a week in the hospital, it seems EASIER than Nursing 1 (I just KNOW that i’m going to regret saying that). It’s not that the material itself is easier, it’s just that i already have the routine and basic information down. None of this is new to me, I know what to expect, and I know how to push myself thru it. So, i guess on very good note, I am gonna kick some serious ass this semester!



*This is where that “TMI” in the header comes into play



School Starts Tomorrow!

September 1, 2008


Summer vacation is over.


I want to cry.


My guess is that breaking into a verse of “no more teachers, no more books…” won’t make me seem any less whiny. Or mature.


School starts tomorrow night, and I am just today opening the book and reading my assignment for the first day. This is no surprise… this is typical ‘me’ behavior.


Don’t get me wrong— I like nursing school. I like learning hands on in the hospital. I like coming closer and closer to being able to save a life. And I LOVE the rush of getting a procedure right; of getting a great score on an exam. I live for that rush…


However, I do NOT like the studying, the constant classes, and the fatigue from trying to be a full-time employee and student at the same time. I do not like missing my loved ones.  I despise having to hike up that hill to go to class when all I want to do is turn around after a long day of work and go home and take a nap. I do not live for those moments.


But, regardless of what I like or dislike, school IS starting tomorrow. And I am not prepared. So I guess I should go like, read  or something.


It has begun.


Fourth of July: Fireworks & Folklore

July 4, 2008


Jungle Habitat sign


 Last night I went to see fireworks show called Thunder in the Highlands with my sister in West Milford, NJ, at a site called “Jungle Habitat”. It was hidden off of a main road that I had driven often, yet I had never once heard of the place. My sister told me she had heard that it used to be a zoo in the 1970’s, but that it was closed suddenly due to a TB outbreak among the animals. Supposedly the animals were left for dead, and the park mysteriously closed without notice.


We drove up a long, windy two lane road to get into the park. Once we got to the top of a hill, we came up a large wooden entrance sign. Seeing that the sign was still intact, I was expecting fields and maybe relics of what used to be a zoo inside, but instead was greeted with only concrete.


Other than the fact that we had to sit on uneven concrete for several hours, the fireworks were amazing. I had never seen fireworks that close before, and the show was truly magical.


Below are a few of my photos from the show.






So the fourth of July show was great, and I’m a wonderful photographer, blah, blah, blah.


Back to Jungle Habitat.


I was really interested in the folklore behind the place. So far the only information I had to go on was the rumor my sister had heard, so I researched about Jungle Habitat all this morning. I found various sites with information, including Wikipedia, Weird NJ, and various personal blogs.


Jungle Habitat was a drive-thru zoo operated by Warner Bros that opened the summer of 1972, and closed September of 1976. Jungle habitat had over 1,500 animals including lions, rhinos, bears, llamas, giraffes, elephants, baboons, and a dozen siberian tigers.The animals were free to roam thru the park, and would walk right up to patrons’ cars. I was only able to find two reports of serious injury; kind of amazing when you realize they basically let people go unsupervised in a pseudo-jungle.



 Click here for the Jungle Habitat Map


The following photos are curtosey of IDFlux





This is where the story begins to differ, and perhaps folklore begins to take over. According to Wikipedia, Jungle Habitat closed because the town voted against a much needed amusement park expansion around the same time that Six Flags Great Adventure opened. This was said to put Jungle Habitat out of business.


In my option, the problem with this story is that anyone who lives in Northern NJ knows what a hike it is to get to Great Adventure. In fact, the two parks are 90 miles apart. While the park undoubtedly was host to a large population of NYC residents, I can’t imagine it going out of business just because of another park opening. First of all, the two parks were wildly different. Secondly, there are other parks that were open on or around that time that subsequently thrived. Space Farms is a small zoo located 45 minutes away Sussex NJ has been opened since 1927, and to be honest it’s pretty much a shithole. Also, the infamous Action Park opened in nearby Vernon in 1978, and has been open ever since. Lastly, Jungle Habitat seemed like it would have been a popular spot for local families to visit, as opposed to driving two hours south for a day trip to Great Adventure.


The other story is the animals fell ill (perhaps with TB), and the park was abandoned.



The rumors of what HAPPENED after the park closed is where this story takes a gruesome turn.

Regardless of whether the park’s demise was caused by lack of visitors or health issues, both stories state that the sick animals were left to fend for themselves. Apparently the park was simply abandoned, and when the owners came back there were several dead animals on the premise. Since it was the dead of winter, the animal carcasses could not be buried in the frozen winter soil, and were left rotting until the following spring. There is no note on what illnesses the animals may have had, or exactly how many were left to die. Reportedly, there were 30+ animal carcasses buried the following spring, however there are rumors of many more animals getting free.




According to one source, the only animals that got free were baboons, emus and peacocks. According to rumors, many more animals broke free and survive to this day in the woods of West Milford.
While I may never know what really happened to Jungle Habitat, I am now completly intrigued by the story. I love how everyone seems to have their own opinion on what occured. On a final note, I was talking to my mom today about the fireworks last night, and asked her if she had ever heard of the place. Her responce was a nostalgic “Oh wow, yeah! Me and your dad went there years ago… the animals were abandoned and broke out. The stories are true. You know that’s why we have mountain lions in the woods, right?”

front page

More Info:

Wikipedia’s article on Jungle Habitat

Jungle Habitat Souvenirs

Another Jungle Habitat Site


Weird NJ


Confessions of my Misconceptions: Volume One

June 17, 2008


I decided that it was time to admit to a misconception or two that I had held prior to nursing school. I know that we’ve all held erroneous beliefs before, but I think that mine were built from my own cockiness. I’ve taken it upon myself to label this Volume One, as I have a pretty strong feeling that I will face many more misconceptions during my next three semesters of nursing school.

 Ok, so here it goes… I hope nobody holds this against me…


 I thought that Nursing School was going to be easy.


Let me start off by defending myself here; I now know that this is completely false, and I will readily correct anyone who dares to say otherwise. But, with my prior experience and innate scholastic ability (yea, I said it!), I thought Nursing School would be a breeze. Let’s face it, I had already finished my BA, and this was only an Associates… so how hard could it honestly be?

On the first day of class we were given our semester schedules; a calendar mapped out perfectly of our day to day lives throughout the next four months. It looked brutal. There was no time for introductions, reviews of syllabus, or any of the usual initial “first day” bullshit. Our first day we had both lecture and lab. The following day, we had Labs number 2 and 3, as well as lectures 2a and 2b. Looking ahead, the first exam was in three weeks, followed by a medical calculations test, and finally a skills test would be held in just over a month. Our clinical rotations in the nursing home would begin in three weeks, and after three weeks there we would begin rotations in the hospital. And so, it had begun.

After our first two days of class (we were lucky enough to have a truncated week—thanks Martin Luther King!), I realized that this wasn’t going to be quite as easy as I thought. I was already five chapters behind in readingyes FIVE… and I had hardly picked up a book in my seven years in college up to this point. I was going to need to read, because we had a weekly quiz, and our labs were geared towards what we had read. It was getting more exhausting by the minute.

Over the next few weeks I read what can only be described as a mass of text, studied my new found skills of taking blood pressure, pulse, temp (ok, that was my favorite because it was a no brainer), and studying range of motion exercises. I also needed to practice medical calculations diligently because without an 80% or above I could not pass the exam, and my math skills are anything but wonderful.

And now, a note on grades. Needing an 80% on the medical calculations wasn’t an option… it was necessity. Like most other exams and skills tests in nursing, you only get two chances. If, by some horrible fate you fail the first test and cannot score high enough on the second… well, let’s just say you’ve just read and studied your ass off for nothing, because you are officially booted from the program. No pressure though…

My other favorite part of grades was that most of them only count AGAINST you. In fact, of all of the work we had to do, very little counted towards our actual final grade. So, if you failed the medical calculations, any of the three skills tests, or had absences (more than one) in clinical, your nursing career was done. However, come grades time, not one of those grades or hours of work were credited towards your final grade. I found this nauseating… to work so hard and get nothing in return except being “allowed” to stay in the program.

There were other things that made nursing school difficult too. I would not recommend for anyone to work full-time during it, but I really have no choice. And, as I noted in a previous blog, that led to a complete lack of sleep. Having to come home and study after late night class and labs was even more difficult, and I often had to give up my work breaks to sit in the conference room and finish reading for my quiz.

My first semester of nursing school was not all bad though. I already knew a handful of my classmates, and although some were real bitches, most of them were really sweet and helpful. We definitely help each other out in class as well in the hospital. The hospital was exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. I was always in awe to see how busy the nurses were…how much responsibility they had… and how well they handled it. I want to be just like them.

So, with risk of this getting any longer, I just want to wrap it up by saying… I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO WRONG ABOUT ANYTHING IN MY LIFE!!